Ever wanted to know more about a product you are interested in, felt a keen desire to see it touch it or needed more confidence to buy it? Felt you had insufficient knowledge to make a buying choice?
All those desires could perhaps have been mitigated with adequate product images. Images those were more attractive. The ones that appeal to a customer’s taste buds, coerce them into buying an outfit and have them awake at night drooling over an online shopping site. Shoppers without a doubt require a visual sense of what they are going to buy. And yes the image makes or breaks the sale!
The deal breaker ‘is’ the image!
So do ecommerce stores have the option of ‘not’ including images? The answer is a strict ‘no’. It’s your images that tell the story, persuade the buyer and eventually helps you sell a product. In online shopping customers do not have a full shopping experience and ecommerce engages only the sense of sight. A prospective customer cannot hold a product in his/her hand, smell its fragrance or feel its texture. Potential customers always prefer the chance to have well developed images of the products or services they are interested in.
Ecommerce is most often limited to the sense of sight. To succeed, ecommerce business photography must engage the other senses as well. The presentation of your products has a significant impact on sales.
Amateur looking photographs damage sales and can adversely affect your brand image. Visuals that you use are incredibly important in selling your brand.
One of the best ways to sell a product to a prospective customer is to let them imagine holding the product in their hands. High quality images help with this.
Powerful visuals are mandatory and are proving to be the key putting businesses at the top of the corporate ladder. Instilling confidence in the customer, they tell the real story making them feel more confident about purchasing from you.
The important thing to note is that images should match a company’s image. Product imaging is the answer. The single most important design aspect of any site product imaging is the “clinch” in the deal.
So what are the advantages of product imaging?
Enhanced Product Understanding
Ecommerce although it provides an excellent platform for an online shopping experience, lacks the opportunity for a prospective customers to hold or handle a product. Product imaging fills this gap by providing your customers with the information they require. Fulfilled customers will undoubtedly return to your site.
Pictures let your customer know more about the products features, uses etc. It lets them know why they need to buy from you when they could buy from the competition. It helps in communicating a company’s value proposition. Most customers do not know why they need your product. Hence people need to why they should buy from you.
Online shoppers do shop around quite a bit, so for your customer to choose your wares over your competitors he/ she has to see an appealing product photo on your site, something that cannot be refused. Brand promotion gets easier with competitive photography. Telegraphing your brand simply and efficiently boosts brand recognition while building trust. Acting as brand ambassadors they showcase your products giving you that extra edge over your customers, while drawing attention to your products.
High quality imaging always sees high quality returns! With enhanced brand promotion, high quality images of your products sales will undoubtedly see a hike as buyers find what they are looking for. When a potential buyer sets eyes on a product he discerns whether he likes it or not. It is the image that makes the difference. A well informed buyer makes accurate decisions, leaving little or no room for return of purchase.
Product Imagery Pointers
It is wise to always have a clear vision for your shoot. Imagine the kind of photos you would like to see on you site, peruse similar sites, watch the competition and finally make a decision taking into account what you want to project about your company’s overall image.
Always prepare the product prior to shooting it. Simpler products are easier to shoot but in all any imperfection will mar the final photo and determine the difference between an amateur and a professional. Ensure that whatever the product, it is prepared to perfection.
Camera Set Up
Be sure to use a modern digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) model, choose a camera that can capture video, and invest in decent lenses.
Try using a tripod if required and you need to take longer exposures. Blurry images will result if you hold your camera by hand will produce blurry images. You can opt for functional tripods like the Woxom Slingshot.
Watch light reflections on shiny surfaces and ensure that your camera has a manual focus, shutter and aperture controls, take a few test shots until you get an exposure that isn’t too bright or too dark. For saturation you can choose from muted to normal to vibrant.
If your product is colorful choose a low saturated setting is better. Most cameras offer white balance according to modes like fluorescent, direct sunlight incandescent and cloudy environments your images might look too bright or have a yellow cast. Set the ISO setting on your camera to 100 or 200 for a higher-resolution shot with less grain and pixellation. Change the camera’s image size to the highest possible setting and make sure your white balance is set correctly.
Always take several photos of your product with different angles, different proximities etc, and next to an item that it will be used in real life. For example, if you take a picture of a watch, show it on someone’s wrist. If you are selling a book, try to take a shot of a person reading it, a watch a person wearing it. This helps the viewer comprehend what it will look like in reality when used. You may offer a particular item in many colors but always permit the viewer to see the entire range available.
This not only increases sales but also gives hikes brand image.
High quality is absolutely essential. It is important to make a customer feel as if they are walking into your store and choosing for themselves. Try to achieve the complete visual experience. Get high quality shots with an accurate zooming. When shooting a product image always ask what do you have surrounding it?
Try also to show the product in a visual context, for example a dishwasher loaded, shows how much its capacity is. Showcase alternate views recreate the experience of a customer walking into a store pick up a product and look at it. display pictures from different angles comes in three different colors or variations, have a photo for each see what that product will look like, as opposed to imagine it themselves make sure that it’s easy to zoom-in on them bring it right up to their nose.
The photo should remain clear, even when zoomed in on. Try to highlight and accentuate products best features. Also do remember to experiment with perspective controls in Photoshop for geometric objects like tables and desks make them look less overpowering, especially when photographed from a low angle. A blank background is ideal to show off a product, but doesn’t provide any context. Remove the background with masking to make a product float freely in white space. Always give your customers appropriate size photos. Endeavour to include thumbnails of all your images for front pages, larger versions for product pages, and very large ones for a close-up view. Ensure that the resolution is always on high and does not pixillate.
Body apparel is almost always shown on the person themselves. Food equipment is generally shown with food items on them. Show multiple angles using collages as well. Most importantly, try to convey emotion. How does a product make a person feel?
Don’t be afraid to try new angles. Bring out the creative side of you and experiment.
You can try out Adobe Photoshop or free photo editing services like Picasa, Piknik etc. Be sure not to delete any photographs until you have decided on those you will use. Before you begin endeavour to learn as much as possible about editing software so that you know the pros and cons. Use the one you feel most comfortable with. If you are choosing an image editing professional, ensure that he/ she is certified. Ask for previous work samples.
Always crop your image and adjust the brightness and contrast. Get rid of excess space and use image enhancer tools in your photo-editing software of brightness, contrast and color unwanted colors and objects. Remove excess white background, mask properly and use soft or selective focus. Avoid harsh backlighting and anything that casts shadows. Keep the lights on the same side of the object as your camera, or slightly off to one side. Remove any dust particles and ensure that the lens is scrupulously clean.
For the most cohesive ecommerce shopping experience, your product photos should be consistent. Flash or no Flash, a background or no background or a model or a mannequin whatever creative decisions apply them across the board. Make sure your product photos come from the same source
A company can choose to opt to take its photos by itself or hire a professional. A look at the pros and cons below will help you decide what’s best for you.
- Often expensive, and one may not get the photos one wants
- Lacks personal knowledge of products
- You may not obtain the exact photos you require
- Offers little or no rights to the photographs
- Product knowledge is available, hence more informed photo choices
- No third part hassles
- Offers own rights to photos
- Time is needed to learn the task as well as to take the photos
- Amateur shots often lack the professional touch
Ecommerce sites that have done a fabulous job with their product images include:
Sparkling gems and crystals form the central point of focus with succinct and brilliant photography. Color schemes include reds and greens that co ordinate and intersperse with black and white hues creating intense aesthetical appeal.
Uncrate one of the world’s best men’s shopping blogs for me includes extremely well lit product photos that captivate the buyer instantly.
Ties.com uses a lightbox effect and an excellent layout to showcase professional photo imagery.
Made.com showcases multi angles and perspectives and its furniture can be viewed from eye level and low angles. A useful selection of color and sleek design contribute as well.
Excellent high definition imagery is characteristic of Luis Vuittons product imagery of its non clothing items.
Moben catering to a global market showcases products in a unified setting, and also still detailed shots of individual items.
Weber includes sharp images and quality close ups of its grills and other equipment.
In conclusion there are a lot of factors that are involved in running an e-commerce site: product photo(s), website speed, design, copy, navigation, pricing etc. But a killer photo always does the trick!